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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Shades of red (and blue) 

An interesting and revealing meeting took place earlier today, between Bush and Blair, on subjects ranging from African aid to global warming. I, for one, am always keen to hear what happens when these two come together. A strange alliance indeed, the men are remarkable demonstrations of everything that is right about politics, and also stark reminders of how left and right differ.
Of course, both leaders pledged large sums of money and debt relief to the struggling African continent, including $674 million for immediate African aid from President Bush. Interesting to note, however, that the story makes no reference to the ongoing events in the Sudan, and one has to wonder how such a monumental proposal for African relief could be in the works without any reference to the glaring human rights violations and lawless slaughter and famine taking place. Regardless, it shows how much politicians from different sides of the spectrum can come together on an issue such as humanitarian aid. Of course, there are differences, highlighted mostly by Bush's refusal to accept pie-in-the-sky proposals that would seemingly aid African countries at extreme costs to the US and world financially. Bush noted specifically that US monies would only go to countries "on a path to reform," perhaps a veiled reference to Darfur:
"Nobody wants to give money to a country that's corrupt, where leaders take money and put it in their pocket," he said.

While disagreements about debt relief and the use of Bond markets to finance African relief were minimal, the argument the Kyoto treaty and global warming remains a division between the two men.
The leaders demonstrated that their biggest differences were over global warming.

Blair has said that "clear and immediate action" to address rising temperatures is one of the world's most pressing priorities. But the Bush administration opposes government-mandated action, arguing there still are questions about global warming and possible causes.

As usual, those who are trumpeting the end of the world and demanding huge government action and regulation on the global warming issue need to get their facts straight (this one is interesting too): Global warming is, at best, a theory; one which seems to change from day to day, and growing bodies of scientific evidence refute completely. I realize that the Prime Minister has probably seem "The Day after Tomorrow," but that does not qualify him as an expert on the subject. Bush is right to call for temperance and skepticism, and should continue to do so. Until adequate evidence demonstrates the pressing need, it can only do more harm than good to waste US resources and pour on restrictive economic policies.
Bush and Blair are an anomaly of our time, when a supposedly "divided" electorate leads to bitter bickering among politicians forced to define themselves in a strict binary: 1 or 0, left or right. Yet the two remain friends and allies, even when many on the left in Europe, and the US for that matter, remain polarly opposed to the United States, and Bush himself. Perhaps Mearsheimer is right, that matters of foreign relations will always trump domestic squabbles, or in this case, disagreements over domestic policy. The men are in many ways mirror images of each other: men who were willing to stick out the neck of their political careers to do what they knew to be right. Men who are often willing to compromise and reach across the isle to pass common sense conservatism legislation. Yet they remain opposites: Bush willing to push for his judicial nominees and activelly support American economic interests at home an abroad while Blair was backed down on his EU constitution vote, and all too easily submits to socialist legislation and world treaties.
Its a good thing we have such men in the world, just ask anyone in Iraq now free from the tyranny of Saddam. And we are even more lucky that Bush, not Blair, is in our Whitehouse.

Comments:
I actually had the pleasure of watching the Bush/Blair press conference LIVE today. I too love to watch these two very different, very powerful men come together. It always gives me good feelings about the alliance between our country and "the mother land". To respond to the author's comment about the lack of reference to Sudan I must say that when watching the conference I got the distinct feeling that these two leaders WERE talking about the Sudan in the way in which they answered questions. The quote that you included, "Nobody wants to give money to a country that's corrupt, where leaders take moncy and put it in their pocket," I felt was particularly directed towards the African countries that participate in genocide and tyrany like the Sudan. And don't get me started on "Global Warming"!!! I must say, though, that I wish the President would have been a little more clear in his thoughts on climate changes.
 
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